The result of this recognition was the formation of a large number of associations, as owing to the variety of the work undertaken by the post office the number of grades into which the service is organized is very numerous. Of late years there has been a marked tendency to amalgamation among the various unions ; but even at the present time, after all the reductions thus brought about, there are no fewer than 42 separate associations officially recognized, with an aggregate membership of 154,000.
The principal associations and their membership were in 1928 as follows : Of late years the relations of the administration of the post office and the staff have entered on a new phase by reason of the establishment of Whitley councils in 1920. Apart from the consid eration of general questions common to the post office and the rest of the civil service, which is undertaken by the national Whitley council, the post office has its own departmental councils, which meet periodically at headquarters for the discussion of questions affecting the general conditions of service. The depart
mental council does its most effective work by the appointment of joint committees for the purpose of considering questions which are too complicated to be discussed adequately by a large council meeting, the recommendations, if agreed by both sides, being then submitted to the departmental council for confirmation.
All matters of purely local interest are handled by the local Whitley committees, of which one exists in each head post office, and also in each sub-department of the post office. These meet much more frequently than those held at headquarters, and gen erally speaking they have worked With marked smoothness. The staff takes considerable interest in the discussions ; disagreements are comparatively infrequent; and the substitution of personal discussion for prolonged correspondence which has resulted from the Whitley scheme has been a distinct improvement in organ ization. By the Trade Union Act of 1927 the post office union have been forced to sever their connection with the Trades Union Congress.